At the end of the year, life may feel extra chaotic.

From  COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus, the holiday season, finishing up tasks at work and more — you might feel extra close to (or far away from) your calendar. Perhaps you have to keep checking what day it is.

In any case, why can the end of the year mess with even the most organized people? Here are a few explanations for why time feels like a black hole right now:

You’re Overly Busy

First, all the tasks you have are enough to mix up your days and make life feel hectic. Plus, our society’s “hustle culture” — and potentially your sense of FOMO — can exacerbate the pressure you feel to tick off a huge number of items on your to-do list.

This can become even more pronounced at the end of the year when your energy and attention are pulled in many different directions from work, home, family, friends, holidays and other activities.

You’re Feeling The Holiday Pressures

In addition to all that needs to be done, many people feel societal pressure at this time of year. Maybe both your mom and your spouse’s mom want to see you, the kids have holiday events, or your grandma is sick and you need to visit her. Even thinking about all of this can be exhausting, and you wouldn’t be alone in feeling that way.

With all those expectations, you have less mental space to keep up with small details, such as the date.  All of this extra stress causes our brains and body to become overwhelmed and often not think as clearly.

You’re Out Of Your Routine And Feel Uncertain

Your schedule may look a lot different than usual during this time of year. As a result, the day of the week might not be as immediately obvious. For example, you may not be able to say, “I went to Zumba last night, so today is Tuesday.”

The Days Are Shorter

It’s hard to ignore the fact the sun is nonexistent after 4:30 p.m. in many areas, making the day feel over when it’s not. This can also speed up your sense of time and confuse your calendar.

Your Depression Or Grief Is Messing With You

As happy as the holidays can be, they can come with feelings of sadness, too. You might be grieving a family member or struggling with seasonal depression, among other factors that can feel all-encompassing or overwhelming.

People who struggle with depression can find that their symptoms worsen around the holiday season, which can cause the end of the year to feel like a blur of emotions and a loss of sense of time.

How To Get Back On Track

If you need to get back on track, try setting realistic goals, finding an accountability partner, and giving yourself grace through breathing exercises and positive self-talk.

Try focusing on one task at a time, establishing a routine, realizing not everything will go as planned, and remembering to relax here and there. Maybe create a schedule, set alarms for your to-do items, or create a timeline for tasks based on how intensive and important they are.

Ultimately, do your best and practice self-compassion. “This is a hard time of year, and you may be your worst critic,” Opland said. “However, you can also be your greatest strength.”